Leaving an IRA to your children or grandchildren can be a great idea. That’s because withdrawals from the IRA can be “stretched out” over many years, and the IRA can grow tax-free for decades, giving your heirs a huge tax benefit.
However, if you’re planning to leave an IRA to your heirs, it’s important to talk with them now about this strategy – so they understand how to take advantage of it.
A recent study by the AXA insurance company showed that 87% of children who inherit an IRA from a parent liquidate it within a year of the parent’s death.
Of course, in many cases, the children may have an immediate need for the money. But it also seems likely that there are a large number of cases where the children simply don’t understand the tax advantages of leaving the assets in the IRA – because the family never had a discussion about it.
This is one of many areas of estate planning where the best-laid plans sometimes go awry if the heirs don’t fully understand how the plans are supposed to work.